Australian Shepherds have become one of the popular pets in the USA due to their lovable qualities like smartness, obedience, intelligence and loyalty. The Australian Shepherds which are also called Blue Heeler, Bob-Tail and California Shepherd have an amazing ability to be ideal companions and family pets. All pet lovers prefer them as they are not noisy dogs. They bark only when situation demands. Their friendly, fun loving and gentle nature have made them one of the favorite pets of all time.
From its name, we may think that it has its origin in Australia, but it is not so. They had their origin in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. In the initial stages, they were bred by Basques. When Basques immigrated to Australia, they went with their owners. Basques again migrated. This time from Australia to United States of America and they followed their masters. In USA, they were refined by cross breeding with Collies. Due to their exceptional qualities, they have been utilized for performing tricks, narcotics detection, herding, being a watchdog etc.
The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized, well proportioned, robust and vigorous dog. The males of this breed are twenty to twenty three inches long, while females are two inches less than their male counterparts. Depending on its sex, it can weigh between 40 to 65 pounds. It has an attractive domed head. It has beautiful eyes in the shape of an almond. The color of its eyes can be amber, brown or blue. It has ears in triangular shape and is set high. It has a very deep chest and has very attractive tail which is naturally short and straight. Some of the Australian shepherds can be found with a docked tail. Compared to other breeds, it has a long coat and its undercoat is very dense. Its coat is weather resistant with a moderate texture, exhibiting a bit of a mane. The bodily hair is soft and short. It is found in various colors mainly in blue merle, black, red merle, solid red or red with white or tan markings.
Australian Shepherd is naturally energetic and courageous. It can be an excellent watch dog for houses. They can assume the role of a loyal friend and a guardian besides being a natural protector. Its great affinity, devotion, loyalty liveliness and agility make it to act according to what its master wants. It needs great deal of attention and exercise. It likes to play with children and lead an active life. It is found to be highly intelligent and easy to train. Traditionally, it is a working dog and is happy to perform some tasks besides being an excellent pet. This means that the owners must spend more time with it and engage it in some work. This breed has been found nervous and naughty if left alone. It is not a kind of dog that can be kept at home all day long with a mere walking exercise for fifteen minutes. Usually, it is not an aggressive dog.
Australian Shepherd has fine coat and so not much attention is needed to maintain it. It can be taken cared by occasional brushing and a bath. It does not shed much fur, but care is needed when its dense undercoat is being shed. Its ears need to be kept dry and clean.
Ideal Living Conditions
Australian Shepherd loves to be active when it is with its master, but is not very active inside of an apartment. So it is not advised for an apartment life. It tends to be destructive and bored when kept alone. The best owner of this dog is an active family that loves outdoor sports. As it is born to be herder, it does well in ranches and farms. It is suitable to be kept outside, but as it gets very close to humans, it can be kept inside too.
The Australian Shepherds are expected to live 12-15 years.
Main health issues regarding Australian Shepherd originates from the breeding between two merle dogs. Their offspring are found to be deaf or blind. This factor needs attention and care should be taken when finding a mate for a merle dog. Other major health issues that affect them are cataract, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, lumbar sacral syndrome, PRA, PDA, PPM etc. Occasional tests should be conducted for hip and eye. Though, this breed is sensitive to ivermectin, dosage for heartworm preventive is considered safe.